Rap Basement


Rhian Benson – Gold Coast

Posted By on January 15, 2005

Album: Rhian Benson – Gold Coast
Reviewed By: bhoutros
Rating: 8/10
1. Words Hurt Too Much
2. Say How I Feel
3. Stealing My Peace Of Mind
4. Soul Boy
5. Shake It Away
6. Invincible
7. The One
8. Sing To A Child
9. I’m In A Bind
10. Gold Sky
11. Freedom Song
12. Young Girl
13. Spirit

The soulful harmonies of Rhian Benson’s “Gold Coast” reflect a musical life that has been influenced by a broad range of artists. Born into a musical family that was half Ghanaian half British and peopled with musicians talented enough to play with the incomparable Fela Kuti, it is no surprise that she brings an educated and lovely voice to her work.

The most compelling aspect of Rhian’s work is that there are complexities in her songs and her range that are evocative of many musical styles. In “Say How I Feel” the listener is reminded of a certain type of 70’s soul, ie. Al Green, where the singer/songwriter brings you in to the moment of their feeling. The power of an individual emotion with a voice that is reminiscent of Sade but isn’t as easily categorized. Perhaps the subtle West African influence in both artists work is what gives their singing the same smooth sensuality .

“Words Hurt Too” is as sensual as “How I Feel” but is pure 70’s soul. With a horn section and strong, slow rhythm the listener is taken back to a time when Isaac Hayes, AL Green and Roberta Flack ruled the R&B airwaves. It’s a love song with the empathic strength of all good soul music.

The weakest song on the album is “Stealing My Pieces of Mind.” Although the lyrics are compelling and imaginative, it seems that it was produced to market a good selling single to less mature listeners. Still, “Gold Coast” is worth sampling as her voice and the production quality is lovely, strong and evocative.

Overall: 8/10